where do the human beings belong, after infesting all the small islands and rendering extinct the local stick insects, the bare-breasted mermaid populations, and any quaint notions of justice and
sucking earth’s oil like blood from the vein of an elderly gimp yak, defaming what is meant to be within by shaming it with daylight
Where do they belong
cowering, peeling off suites to pick nits.
Belong batty from immersion in small deaths
denying through diseased gums any sort of self-inflicted apocalypse.
receiving A Present—a holiday gift of what each deserves—the pain in the eyes of how many tropical birds no more.
You—conscienceless fathers, may you sit toothless in hell gnawing every single lost feather
pinched in the fist of infestation, the healthy consciousness of each individual is compromised
the mind is crawled upon
the heart is crawled upon
the heart crawls to the rote rhythm of defeatism.
If my ten thousand housemates rooting in the linoleum for foot gunk at night don’t pay rent why should I?
And if my hanged man’s thoughts begin issuing their own skull’s eviction
shall I choose the Luling or the Sunshine
to make aggravation last forever in the blue sky holding an empty glass of time.
If the river is an oversized bottle of Elmer’s may all my thoughts be stuck eternally and wriggle like a tropical biosphere out of control no more
Lucy, in the end there is something of the start.
AL 288-1 ape mother,
petitely skulled, a valgus kneed upright walker
You carried our fated disaster of increased intelligence in your widening pubic bone.
What was it like to stand without thinking to build higher?
What was it like to use your hugely muscled free swinging, fur-softened hands for things other than turning the wheel?
Lucy, ape mother, bones in pieces scattered over the arid desert
in the Awash valley of Ethiopia’s Afar depression,
belong awash and afar
belong furred and unthinking, carrying children in the desert, moaning an unworded song
bones fragmented, scattered across the gully without brick ruins to contain us
We belong in a sunset song walking with thick skinned feet across the desert for the sake of walking, perfectly furred and free of humming disaster machines
Lucy, how could you know, in your tender immediacy, that your great-great-grand-daughter of the future would be a seven-foot-tall dragon with functionless wings?
Laura Mattingly is a second generation Lithuanian American, and a third generation Irish American, who grew up eating burritos, listening to Mariachi music and Radiohead in southern CA, floated down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans on a homemade raft and now studies mental health counseling at Loyola University (because she's just crazy enough for the job). She studied writing at University of California, Santa Cruz, and University of New Orleans. She has poems in Big Bridge New Orleans, New Laurel Review, and Maple Leaf Rag. Her "Book of Incorporation" was published by Language Foundry in 2012.